Annam Bahu Kurvita

Religious Studies Review, Volume 24 Number 3, July 1998
by John Grimes
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Annam Bahu Kurvita:
Recollecting the Indian Discipline of Growing and Sharing Food in Plenty. By Jitendra Bajaj and Mandayam Doddamane Srinivas. Madras: Centre for Policy Studies, 1996. Pp. lvi+217, Rs.400, ISBN 81-86041-05-2.

An oft-quoted Sanskrit verse declares that “the gift of wisdom is the most superior of all gifts; the greatest empirical gift is food.” Human life, in order to exist, grow, and achieve life’s ultimate goal, depends upon food. Thus, food is not only the source of life and the condition of life; it is the very stuff of life. Not only must one eat to live, but all life, in any manifestation, requires one type of food or another for its support along the way. Physically, mentally, in all forms, food is indispensable. This book is a wonderful gift to everyone in that it has gathered together, in one place, scriptural references concerning food from various Hindu scriptures. As well, the author comments upon, presents the rationale behind, and engenders an understanding regarding an abundance of food and sharing or gift of food. It is truly a remarkable exposition of the greatness of food and all that this entails. It ought to be read by all Indians, so as to rekindle a fast-disappearing tradition, and anyone even remotely interested in Hindu culture. Further, since all individuals live by food, it provides fertile thought universally.